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The Top 10 Trending Trailers On YouTube This Year


YouTube just released its list of top-trending trailers for 2014. 

While there are a lot of huge movies coming out next year, the trailers for "Star Wars" and "The Avengers" sequel aren't at the top of the list, according to YouTube.

The list does not compile trailers with the most views. Rather, the trailers here are based on the amount of views, shares, comments, likes, and more. Trailer views were compiled through Dec. 3.  

In addition to movies, a video game trailer also makes the list.

10."Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare" Live Action Trailer

Views: 26.8 million

9. "The Fault in Our Stars" Official Trailer

Views: 29.9 million 

8. "Lucy" trailer

Views: 36.1 million 

7. "Godzilla" Official Main Trailer

Views: 36.9 million

6. "Fast & Furious 7" ("Furious 7") Official Trailer

Views: 37.9 million

5. "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" Official Trailer

Views: 43.2 million 

4. "Jurassic World" Official Trailer

Views: 44.7 million

3. "Star Wars: Episode VII" Trailer Teaser

Views: 52.9 million

2. Marvel's "Avengers: Age of Ultron" Teaser Trailer

Views: 64.9 million

1. "Fifty Shades of Grey" Official Trailer

Views: 67.42 million

YouTube reports the "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" trailer is the fastest-viewed trailer of the year. It received 54 million views in its first week of views from Nov. 28-Dec. 5. 

The "Avengers: Age of Ultron" trailer received 48 million views in its first week. The "Jurassic World" trailer was viewed 41 million times in its first seven days of release.

SEE ALSO: Why George Lucas hasn't seen the new "Star Wars" trailer

AND: Stephen Colbert explains why the controversial new lightsaber is "perfect"

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Disney Tried To Get Spider-Man In 'Captain America 3'


amazing spider man

The Sony hackers released a fourth round of leaked files online earlier this week.

Included in the latest leak were private emails of Sony Pictures Co-Chairman Amy Pascal. According to the Wall Street Journal, among the emails is an exchange between Sony and Marvel over the use of Spider-Man in Disney's upcoming "Captain America 3" due in theaters May 6, 2016. 

WSJ reports Pascal told a business partner in an email that Marvel wanted to include Spidey in "Captain America: Civil War." 

Disney CEO Bob Iger was reportedly involved in the discussion, as well.

Comic fans know Spider-Man is a big part of the Civil War storyline in which a government law requires superheroes to reveal their identities. As expected, the law creates a huge divide between superheroes, with Tony Stark/Iron Man going head-to-head with Steve Rogers/Captain America.

Spider-Man finds himself caught in the middle of the duo.

Though it won’t be impossible, it will be a challenge for Disney to make the film without the popular Marvel character. 

The move would have been huge for fans and both studios, especially Sony which is having a tough time re-igniting life into its Spider-Man franchise. 

So far, its reboot of the series with Andrew Garfield has not performed as well as its original three films with Tobey Maguire. 

MovieYearOpening WeekendWorldwide Box OfficeEstimated Budget
"Spider-Man"2002$114.8 million$821.7 million$139 million
"Spider-Man 2"2004$88.1 million$783.7 million$200 million
"Spider-Man 3"2007$151 million$890.9 million$258 million
"The Amazing Spider-Man"2012$62 million$757.9 million$230 million
"The Amazing Spider-Man 2"2014$91.6 million$709 million$200 million

According to the WSJ, another email dated Oct. 30 from Sony Pictures president Doug Belgrad to Pascal discussed a "potential scenario that would see Marvel produce a new trilogy of Spider-Man movies." Sony would have creative control along with marketing and distribution rights.

The emails confirm rumors from earlier this fall in which Hitfix's Drew McWeeny reported Sony was in talks with Marvel to help “refocus” the Spidey franchise onscreen. 

Sharing the Spidey character may be a smart move for the studio which announced it was pushing back "The Amazing Spider-Man 3" to 2018 to focus on expanding the Spidey universe in spin-off movies that included a Sinister Six film and a rumored one on Peter Parker's Aunt May

According to leaked Sony emails acquired by Gawker, some employees believe Disney has a better handle on Spider-Man than the studio. 

Disney, which purchased Marvel in 2009 for $4 billion, retains the merchandise licensing rights to the web crawler. According to a report from the Licensing Letter acquired by The Hollywood Reporter, Spider-Man merchandise accounted for $1.3 billion in global retail sales for 2013. 

Reuters reports the Sony hack could wind up costing the studio upwards of $100 million.

It may not be a bad time to reconsider sharing Spidey with the Mouse.

SEE ALSO: Everything you need to know about the Sony hacking scandal

AND: Sony hackers expose celebrity aliases for Natalie Portman, Tom Hanks, and more

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The Orthodox Church Has Stopped A Giant 'Eye Of Sauron' Being Built Over Moscow


hobbit eye moscow

The Russian Orthodox Church has succeeded in shutting down a giant "Eye of Sauron" installation on top of a Moscow tower intended to promote the Hobbit movie trilogy.

The exhibit would have featured a giant red eye as a symbol of Sauron, the evil lord of the Middle Earth, on top of one of Moscow's new skyscrapers. It would have been launched Wednesday night as Moscow gets ready for the premiere of "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," the latest movie of the saga of the Ring.

The conservative Orthodox church didn't like it one bit. The Russian state-funded broadcaster RT writes that the church's spokesperson, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, took to Govorit Moskva radio to say: "such a symbol of triumphant evil rising above Moscow and becoming one of the tallest objects in the city … is it good or bad? I am afraid it's mostly bad. One shouldn't be surprised if something goes wrong with the city after that." He went on to call the eye a symbol of Satan.

The piece of art would have measured 1 meter in diameter and would have been put on the roof of the "IQ-quarter" complex in Moscow International Business Center "Moscow-City."

In the novel from J.R.R. Tolkien, the red eye symbolizes the evil lord's wish to control everything, an allusion that many critics link to state surveillance.

The installation, designed by the Russian art group "Svechenie," attracted quite a buzz on Twitter:

After the condemnation from the Orthodox church, the Sputnik news agency tweeted that the project was canceled:

More to follow.

NOW WATCH: This Drone Footage Of Desolate Detroit Looks Like Something From 'The Walking Dead'


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David Fincher Had A Hilarious Response To An Angry Email From A Sony Exec


david fincher amy pascalGawker published a bunch of Sony’s leaked emails late Tuesday

Among them is a brief, hilarious exchange between “Gone Girl” Director David Fincher and Sony Pictures Entertainment Co-Chairman Amy Pascal over a subscription email from TheWrap, a Hollywood trade publication.

Pascal forwarded an email with headlines about “Girls” actor Adam Driver, who is cast in “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens,” and another about Fincher reportedly being out of the Steve Jobs movie that was originally supposed to film under Sony Pictures. The body of the email contained a simple “WTF.”

Fincher’s response is golden:

“Adam Driver is a terrible idea, I’m with you …”

Pascal wasn’t amused, replying in all caps, “I MEANT THE ONE ABOUT US BUTTING HEADS AND YOU NOT DIRECTING JOBS.”

Fincher kept on the defense, calling the news “bulls—.”

The report ended up being true.

Danny Boyle is now set to direct the Steve Jobs movie for Universal Pictures. Michael Fassbender ("12 Years A Slave,""X-Men: Days of Future Past") will star.


NOW WATCH: Hugh Hefner's 23-Year-Old Son Has A Plan To Redefine The Playmate


SEE ALSO: Disney tried to get Spider-Man in "Captain America 3"

AND: Sony employees: Why are we still paying Adam Sandler?

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The 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Trailer Just Put The Movie On Everybody's Radar


The second trailer for George Miller's "Mad Max: Fury Road" just debuted online, and it's a doozy.

The sequel, starring Tom Hardy as the titular anti-hero alongside Charlize Theron, will continue the story of the original 1979 film. George Miller, who wrote and directed all three previous "Mad Max" films, returns to the director's chair.

The only fanfare the film has received previously came at Comic-Con, but even non-movie buffs and those unfamiliar with the franchise are sure to be impressed with the practical stuntwork on display here.

"Mad Max: Fury Road" is in theaters May 15, 2015.


The trailer is an epic symphony of gorgeous visuals and jaw-dropping stunts that truly has to be seen to be believed.  

mad max gif1madmax gif 2mad max gifmad max gif

SEE ALSO: The First 'Star Wars: Episode VII' Trailer Is Here!

SEE ALSO: A 'Terminator' Reboot Is Coming Next Summer With Arnold Schwarzenegger — Here's The First Trailer

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Leaked Sony Emails Reveal 'Men In Black' And '22 Jump Street' Crossover Movie


22 jump street channing tatum jonah hill

The running joke at the end of 22 Jump Street was how the potential for subsequent stories centered around Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) was limitless. Cooking school? Check. Outer space? Absolutely. But I don’t think any of us saw this coming. 

The Wall Street Journal has been poring over the information coming out due to the ongoing Sony leaks. We have heard stories about the studio’s efforts to bring Spider-Man 

into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.We’ve heard about the studio’s opinion of Adam Sandler. And now the WSJ is reporting that Sony plans (or possibly planned) a crossover movie for its Jump Street and Men In Black franchises. 

Using emails shared between Sony executives, the WSJ says that there is no script for this Jump Street/Men In Black crossover event at the moment, so they would be greenlighting the project simply on the concept and the talent involved. But they quote an email from Jonah Hill stating that he supports the suggestion, and they go so far as to say that this is "one of the highest profile projects on the studio’s slate," and that they’d love to get it in theaters by 2016 or 2017.

Personally, I think this is a genius idea. Both the Jump Street franchise and the Men In Black series have reached the point where yet another routine sequel would exhaust whatever goodwill remains in the tank. The 22 Jump Street end credits were a joke meant to emphasize that point. BUT… putting Schmidt and Jenko on a case that could involve aliens? Now that’s a way to reinvigorate both narratives with some very funny creative folks at the helm.

The Wall Street Journal shares a few details, even though nothing is set in stone. They say that Men In Black stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones "would not be included in the movie, at least in prominent roles." They also dangle the tease that Jump Street geniuses Phil Lord and Chris Miller would produce this mash up event, and "may direct it." 

Of course, we also just linked Lord and Miller to an animated Spider-Man movie, so yeah, a lot of this is up in the air. But it’s exciting to note that Sony at least seems to have had thoughts about building a much larger Jump Street universe. Do you think it’s a good idea?

SEE ALSO: '22 Jump Street' Had A Huge Weekend At The Box Office

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Producer Megan Ellison Responds To A Colleague Who Called Her A 'Lunatic' In Leaked Email


megan ellison 1

Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison's 28-year-old daughter, movie producer Megan Ellison, is just one of the new names being thrown into the Sony hacking scandal.

In megaproducer Scott Rudin's explosive emails to Sony Co-Chairman Amy Pascal, which leaked late Tuesday, Rudin had some harsh words for the young, Oscar-nominated producer who had wanted to finance the Steve Jobs movie when it was at Sony.

Ellison's father, Larry Ellison, was real-life best friends with Steve Jobs.

In the leaked emails to Pascal, Rudin calls Ellison "a bipolar 28-year-old lunatic" and implied that she needed to take her "meds" to get the production off the ground.

Defamer published the full nugget about Ellison, which she tweeted with a witty response to her nearly 76,000 followers:

Well played, Ellison.


NOW WATCH: 13 Things You Didn't Know Your iPhone 6 Could Do


SEE ALSO: Two Sony Execs' Entire Email Boxes Got Leaked By Hackers And Now All Hell Is Breaking Loose

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Leaked Sony Emails Reveal 'LEGO Movie' Directors May Make Animated Spider-Man Movie


superman green lantern lego movie

Filmmakers Phil Lord and Chris Miller have created a very solid working relationship with the folks over at Sony. Not only did they make both of the incredibly successful 21 Jump Street movies working for the studio, but they also first directed, then produced, respectively, the Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs films for Sony Pictures Animation. Everything has worked out pretty great when the two sides have worked together in the past, so it makes a degree of sense that the company might be willing to trust the duo with piece of its biggest superhero property. 

The Wall Street Journal has learned from insiders that there are dealings going on behind the scenes at Sony Pictures that could wind up seeing Phil Lord and Chris Miller producing an animated Spider-Man movie. Any and all details about the project are currently being kept tightly under wraps, and it doesn't appear clear at this point if the film will ever actually be a thing, but the newspaper notes that studio executives are planning a major "Spidey summit" in January that is being planned to help work out what kind of future Spider-Man has on the big screen. 

amazing spiderman 2

As a big fan of Phil Lord and Chris Miller's, this idea definitely has me excited - and it should be mentioned that the two filmmakers do already have at least some experience working with superheroes. When the two directors made The LEGO Movie for Warner Bros., they not only included Batman as a lead character (voiced by Will Arnett), but also brought in Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and more in for bit parts. As producers of the prospective animated Spider-Man movie they would certainly be a little less hands -on, but it's pretty clear that they have an appreciation for what comic books have to offer the cinematic landscape. 

As of right now, it's not exactly easy to say where an animated Spider-Man movie might fit into the franchise's development at Sony Pictures. Because The Amazing Spider-Man 2 didn't perform up to expectations this past summer, the future of the web slinger on the big screen has been a bit hazy. As of now, the next film actually scheduled on the company's slate is Drew Goddard's Sinister Six - which will see some of Spider-Man's greatest villains teaming up for their own movie - and that one is currently dated for November 11, 2016. There have also been talks about doing an Amazing Spider-Man 3, a Venom spin-off (which Alex Kurtzman is attached to direct), and a female-fronted movie that will be set in the larger Amazing Spider-Man universe. At this time, however, none of those projects have firm release dates. 

What do you think of the idea of a Phil Lord and Chris Miller-produced animated Spider-Man movie? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

SEE ALSO: 15 Easter Eggs In 'The LEGO Movie'

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The New Bond Movie Reportedly Costs Over $300 Million And Is Way Over Budget


james bond spectre announcement daniel craig

The budget of the new Bond movie, "Spectre," has been revealed as emails from the massive Sony hack continue to leak online.

CNNMoney reports the movie, distributed by Sony and Columbia Pictures and MGM, is expected to cost over $300 million, making it one of the most expensive movies ever made.

Via CNNMoney:

MGM president Jonathan Glickman sent emails in early November explaining how the studio is scrambling to cut costs.

He says the current budget "sits in the mid $300Ms," but the studio has to drastically cut back to $250 million. And the shooting period already costs $50 million more than the previous film, "Skyfall."

2012's "Skyfall" cost an estimated $200 million to make. The film made over $1 billion worldwide at the box office. No doubt Sony and MGM are hoping this one will be as big of a hit.

Without inflation, 2007's "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" is the most expensive movie ever made at $300 million. 

What really stands out is a line from Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal in which she says the film had no script but already had a massive, inflated budget.

Here's what she said in a direct email to Glickman:

"It's insane and you know with no script this movie is gonna go overbudget."

CNNMoney reports Glickman suggested measures to cut costs which include filming a Rome villa in London because "it's a nighttime scene," tossing out a "dramatic finale in the rain" to lower the cost of special effects, and filming more in Mexico to receive "an extra $6 million" in what are most likely tax incentives to film there.

In addition, the casting of Andrew Scott, known for BBC miniseries "Sherlock," reportedly saved $1 million in costs. They were planning on casting Oscar-nominated Chiwetel Ejiofor instead.

CNN has a few other tidbits involving plot spoilers about characters in the film that I won't mention here. 

"Spectre" started production Monday, Dec. 8 and will be released Nov. 6, 2015.

Read more at CNN.

SEE ALSO: The full "Spectre" cast

More on the Sony hack:  Joel McHale asked Sony execs for a discount on a TV after "Community" was originally canceled

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Paul Thomas Anderson's New Movie 'Inherent Vice' Is Unlike Anything We've Ever Seen


joaquin phoenix inherent vice

"Inherent Vice" is sure to be labeled Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Big Lebowski," another sprawling and goofy crime comedy. While that comparison is certainly apt, his take on the comedic film noir stands entirely on its own. Based on Thomas Pynchon's novel, it's part throwback to '70s neo-noir, part stoner comedy, and its inspired madness is effectively brought to life thanks to Anderson's assured direction.

The film follows hippie detective Larry "Doc" Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) as he investigates the mysterious disappearance of a former girlfriend. The film takes place in 1970, when the hippie movement was slowing to a standstill as Richard Nixon and his "silent majority" took hold of the country. 

Anderson is the first director to ever tackle a novel by Pynchon, a notoriously complex and heady writer. The resulting film is anything but traditional and is sure to leave plenty of viewers scratching their heads over what the hell they just watched.

Seemingly justifying the occasionally incoherent narrative, at a panel following the film's premiere in New York, Anderson stated: "I never remember plots of movies. I remember how they make me feel." 

joaquin phoenix inherent vice"Inherent Vice" is steeped in Charles Manson-era hippie paranoia. In this world, according to the powers that be, everyone with shoulder-length hair and a vague patchouli stench is a lunatic cult-member ready to attack Americans at a moment's notice. The film's protagonist falls into this category, which make his attempts at solving this confusing affair even more difficult, no matter how professional he tries to be. 

I can't recall one scene in the entire movie that doesn't feature Phoenix; it's essentially a one-man show starring a pot-smoking hippie who obliviously stumbles from one major clue to the next.

The real comedy in the film stems from the fact that Sportello is caught up in a conspiracy that he can barely understand, let alone solve. It's pure joy to watch Phoenix trip his way through solving the elaborate mystery, and all of his exchanges with Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro are hilarious. Every supporting role appears to have been filled with a perfectly capable A-lister, so even the more insignificant characters are intriguing in their own way. Plenty of laughs stem from Phoenix's physicality, and it's astounding what he can accomplish with simply a look (a scene with a frozen banana scene had me and the audience howling). 

The dialogue is full of hippie slang (try and count the number of times you catch someone utter "far out" or "right on") that helps establish the setting and mood, and Sportello's sheer indifference to his surroundings really drives the whole "stoner hippie" angle home. Sportello is constantly referred to as a "doper," and it truly fits — the man smokes more joints in the film's two and a half hours than most people do throughout four years in college. 

There are a few sequences that bend reality and feel hallucinatory, ensuring we're never quite sure what Sportello is really seeing. Pynchon's words are brought to the screen through narration by the quirky folk singer Joanna Newsom whose musings only add to all the uncertainty. The narrative is purposefully muddled and disorienting, as the audience sees things from Sportello's unreliable point of view. 

inherent vice posterThe film is often weird for the sake of being weird and only gets more bizarre as it moves along; by the time Martin Short shows up in a hilarious cameo, the film has already gone off the deep end. 

"Inherent Vice" looks nothing like Anderson's other recent works — the beautifully composed and breathtaking cinematography that fills "There Will Be Blood" and "The Master" is replaced by a tighter, grainy look that focuses more on close-ups than lush establishing shots. This helps keep the audience confined to Sportello, as we see the world just as he does through the smoke-filled haze. As if the film's noir aesthetic weren't enough, there's even a shadowy scene in a dark, sketchy alley to really drive it home. 

What makes the film so unique is how all these different elements combine to form something that's greater than the sum of its parts. It has many functions; it's an homage to old-school film noir/neo-noir, a goofy stoner comedy, and a compelling mediation on America in the late '60s/early '70s. On paper, it sounds like a total trainwreck, but in the hands of one of the greatest living filmmakers, it's actually one of the best movies of the year. 

"Inherent Vice" opens in limited release on December 12th and expands nationwide on January 9th, 2015.

SEE ALSO: Watch Joaquin Phoenix Go Nuts In First Trailer For Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Inherent Vice'

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This Is What It Was Like To Be At Sony's 'The Interview' Premiere Last Night In LA


the interview movie premiere

"The Interview" the Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy about killing Kim Jong Un at the center of the Sony hacking scandal  had it's world premiere last night in Los Angeles.

Leading up to the premiere, a series of scary cyber attacks hit the studio, releasing everything from employees' Social Security Numbers to execs' entire email inboxes.

So it was no surprise when Sony announced that the premiere would be low key, with just a red carpet for photo-ops but no interviews.

seth rogen james franco

LA Times reporter Amy Kaufman was at the highly-anticipated premiere at the Ace Hotel and documented the experience via Twitter:


Despite more Sony leaks late Thursday of employees' medical records, Kaufman tells us that at the premiere, "no one seemed scared at all."

"The Interview" centers around  two journalists recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The Pyongyang government denounced the film as "undisguised sponsoring of terrorism, as well as an act of war" in a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in June.

Sony co-chairman, Amy Pascal, worked with Rogen to make the film's ending "less gory" and less controversial.

Judging by Franco's Instagram photo from the movie's premiere party, the film's stars aren't too worried.


SEE ALSO: 2 Sony Execs' Entire Email Boxes Got Leaked By Hackers And Now All Hell Is Breaking Loose

MORE: Here's How The CEO Of Sony Tweaked 'The Interview' After North Korea Threatened War

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McDonalds Getting Movie About How It Turned Into A Hamburger Juggernaut


Ronald McDonaldDirector John Lee Hancock has created an interesting niche for himself in Hollywood, regularly finding projects that bring true stories to life. In recent years he has done so with films like The Blind Side and Saving Mr. Banks, but now he's preparing to tell the origin story of the biggest fast food chain in the world. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hancock is now attached to direct a film titled The Founder, which will tell the story of how the restaurant chain McDonald's wound up being created. Robert Siegel, who previously earned acclaim for writing the script for Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler and for his directorial debut Big Fan, is penning the script, and Jeremy Renner's production company, The Combine, is working along with FilmNation to produce the feature. 

The story will center on Illinois-born businessman Ray Kroc, who moved to Southern California in the 1950s and became acquainted with two brothers named Mac and Dick McDonald, who at the time were running a small little burger restaurant. As the story goes, Kroc was impressed with the quick and streamlined operation, and saw franchise potential in it, eventually leading to the creation of the McDonalds corporation that we know today. The film is expected to be a very serious drama, as the trade report cites David Fincher's The Social Network and Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood as being projects with similar tones. 

vintage mcdonalds cars
There are really two basic ways that this project could go, and while one could be compelling, the other could be disastrous. In a perfect world, this movie will be an honest look behind the scenes of a very powerful corporation that tells the truth about everything, warts on all. The worst possible outcome is that this movie winds up being little more than a fluff piece that on a basic level operates as a 120-minute commercial for McDonald's. I really want to believe that it will be the former, but I have some very big fears of the latter. 

To this project's credit, I didn't really understand the value of a movie about the origins of Facebook either when that project was first announced, and The Social Network wound up becoming my favorite film of 2010. Do you think this story has the potential to really create some serious, compelling drama? Do you have the same fears that I do about the possibility of the project just being an extended advertisement? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

SEE ALSO: Here's What McDonald's Could Be Cutting From The Menu Next Month

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Sony Has Reportedly Suspended Production On Movies Amid Hack


Daniel Craig Skyfall

The Sony hack keeps getting worse. 

The Times reports filming on Sony Pictures movies has come to a halt due to money issues. 

From the Times:

Agencies filming for Sony Pictures have cancelled shoots because the problems have left it unable to process payments, a source told The Times.

Sony and MGM's latest Bond movie, "Spectre," started production Mon. Dec. 8.

According to emails that have leaked in the cyberattack, the new movie, set for release next Nov., is reported to be way over budget, costing over $300 million. That figure would make "Spectre"one of the most expensive movies ever made

Reuters reported the hack could cost Sony Pictures $100 million.

It is not known who is behind the massive security breach of Sony, though a group of hackers referring to themselves as the Guardians of Peace (GoP) have taken responsibility.

So far, the hack has resulted in the leak of email accounts and salaries of Sony executives, top celebrity aliases, and details on future movie plans, among much more.

SEE ALSO: Sony emails reveal Mark Cuban's "Shark Tank" salary

AND: A full timeline of the Sony hack

More on the Sony hack: Insider says the security team has 'no f------ clue'

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'Princess Bride' Star Cary Elwes Describes His Bizarre Meeting With Bill Clinton


Cary Elwes starred as Westley in the 1987 film "The Princess Bride." While at a White House function in 1998, President Clinton pulled Elwes aside to tell him what a big fan of the film he was. 

Produced by Alex Kuzoian. Video courtesy of Associated Press.

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America's History Of Boss Rule Can Be Explained In 3 Movies


Between roughly the Civil War and World War II, most American cities were at some point dominated by a boss and his machine. The term “boss” referred not only a powerful politician, but one who acquired, held and exercised power outside the channels dictated by law. Progressive reformers fought the bosses for control of American city government for over a century. The Progressives ultimately won, or, at least, the bosses lost.

All this is well known. What is less well known is that the entire history of bossism is contained in three films: Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York (the origin), Preston Sturges’The Great McGinty (the peak), and John Ford’s The Last Hurrah (decline).

Gangs of New York: How Tammany Hall Civilized New York City

gangs of new yorkGangs of New York (Gangs) takes place in New York City during the Civil War. Its plot concerns the war between Irish and nativist gangs for control of lower Manhattan. Both lose, leading to the rise of Tammany Hall, whose innovative manner of conflict resolution laid the foundation for modern New York. The ward heelers replace the warlords and the rigid identities of immigrant and nativist are dissolved. That’s how New York was tamed.

The film’s most memorable character is Bill the Butcher (Daniel Day-Lewis), the nativist gang leader bent on keeping the Irish down. A primitive man, Bill resembles Homer’s Cyclops in that he has only one eye and maintains his political authority through the open threat of violence. He’s the sometimes ally of Boss Tweed (Jim Broadbent), who functions as Tweed’s liaison to the slums of lower Manhattan.

In Gangs’ moral order, Boss Tweed represents progress. Tweed’s understanding of progress means thievery on a grand scale (rigging contracts for a new courthouse vs. exacting tribute from pubescent pickpockets) and bringing the Irish into the fold. Tweed tells Bill that to rely purely on violence is crude and inflexible, and he vows that Bill won’t last if he doesn’t adapt. Bill is less greedy than Tweed, and more principled in his own (bigoted) way. He’s ferociously independent, but also fatalistic. Bill knows that Tweed is right that his days are numbered. Nonetheless, he will go down fighting.

But the debate between Bill and Tweed is really a side show. Gangs’ main action concerns the struggle between the Irish and natives. The Irish are if anything even more primitive than Bill. They live in torch-lit caves, they are vengeful and as bigoted towards blacks as Bill’s crowd, and they reject the Civil War. Unlike Bill, the Irish have a bright future, but they, too, have bitter truths to learn. They seem to think that they can be New Yorkers without also being Americans. They are wrong. Scorsese asserts this by making the film’s climax not the 1863 draft riots themselves but the Union Army’s brutal suppression of them. The Army forces the Irish to submit to the legitimacy of the Civil War, and, by extension, the unconditional obligations implied by American citizenship. (Nation-building, 19th-century style.) Becoming American means becoming an American citizen, and citizenship implies renouncing the right to pick and choose among one’s obligations, and not least during times of crisis. Scorsese is slightly less clear about what becoming less Irish and more American will mean for the Irish than he is about the nativists’ education. But, at bare minimum, it means that they too will have to become more tolerant and capable of solving their conflicts through politics instead of violence.

Tammany did not itself vanquish the gangs (which were real by the way-see Herbert Asbury’sGangs of New York (1928), on which the film was based, and Tyler Ambinder’s Five Points(2010)). That task required guns and muscle. But, in providing a ready-at-hand political alternative to the gangs, Tammany answered the question what next?

What is the purpose of city government? It is not only to provide basic services such as education and street-cleaning, but to manage conflict. Government is much more than just a fee-for-service arrangement. Humans tend to disagree about the true and the good, which produces conflict, which we need politicians to manage for us by means of persuasion, intimidation, flattery, deal making, and so forth. Politics will always be with us and we will always need politicians.

The urban party machines excelled at managing conflict. If we believe that honest, rational debate will be inadequate to resolve most conflicts, then something else will be necessary to prevent government from being rendered completely impotent and to minimize the potential for violence. In most functional democracies, that “something else” has been a party system. Centuries of political experience strongly suggest that a democracy requires some form of organized mediation to recruit and vet candidates for office, and then, when in office, provide them with the support they need to be effective. “Parties are as natural to democracy as churches to religion (James Q. Wilson).”

Scorsese seems to understand these virtues of boss rule, while remaining aware of its corruption and vulgarity. Gangs argues that boss rule was an improvement over what came before: the gangs were just as corrupt, more violent, less enlightened, and, most crucially, pettier. Modern New York for Scorsese is, above all, a great city. Tweed was not a great man, but, according to Scorsese, Tweed’s political system provided the conditions for New York’s future greatness.

The Great McGinty: Bossism Ascendant

Screen Shot 2014 s12 10 at 4.07The Great McGinty (McGinty) takes place in an unnamed American city sometime in the first half of the 20th century. Its plot traces the title character’s (Brian Donlevy) rise from the soup line to the governorship by means of his skills at repeat-voting, fighting, bullying, carousing, wisecracking, bid-rigging and spending public money wastefully. “The boss” (Akim Tamiroff) gives McGinty his initial break and then directs his rise. McGinty chafes under the rule of the boss, and hilarity, and McGinty’s downfall, ensue. The third major character is McGinty’s wife (Muriel Angelus), his moral guide, who bucks him up to reject the boss.

McGinty depicts boss rule at its height, when it seemed almost the natural form of American city government. Sturges gives us the fully-developed specimen. All of the essential features of Progressive age city politics are in evidence:

First, the boss was often not the mayor. Of the 20 municipal bosses surveyed in Harold Zink’sCity Bosses in the United States (1930), 19 held some public office of some kind, but only two were mayors. There was no reason for the boss himself to be the mayor, since it was a ceremonial position with no real power. The office now known as the “strong mayor” did not become common until well into the 20th century. Progressive reformers strengthened the office of mayor by wresting fiscal and administrative authority away from the local legislature and lengthening the term of office. This left no choice to the boss but to become mayor. What few bosses have emerged to dominate urban politics since WWII have all been mayors. Examples include Richard Daley pere, Philadelphia’s Frank Rizzo, and Newark’s Sharpe James.

Second, Machine politics was genuinely democratic in the sense that it enabled men to rise from exceedingly humble beginnings to positions of high authority. In this respect, a real life equivalent of McGinty would be Harry Truman, who owed his career to Tom Pendergast, the notorious boss of Kansas City.

Third, the lines between reformer and boss could be sometimes blurry. McGinty is first elected as a reform candidate (“Down with McBoodle! Up with McGinty!”). Wise bosses were highly sensitive to public opinion. They sometimes had to run candidates who were justdistant enough from the machine to be considered graft-free. This practice was known as “perfuming the ticket.” Problem was, such candidates did not always stay in line when they got into office. Sometimes they chafed like McGinty did.

Fourth, women hated grafters. The Progressive-era movements for women’s suffrage and municipal reform were practically indistinguishable. Women getting the vote dealt the bosses a grievous blow.

McGinty is a satire and therefore anti-boss. Sturges certainly expects us to like McGinty, the boss and the gang, and McGinty does eventually redeem himself by breaking with the boss (on top of earning the love of a good woman), but to say that his deep engagement in machine politics required redemption implies that bossism was a rotten system. The audience’s proxy is McGinty’s wife. She loves him, but she certainly doesn’t love his politics.

At the same time, Sturges depicts a world in which bossism as such is not seriously under threat. No fundamental structural reforms are at hand, just the occasional defeat at the polls and visit to the hoosegow.

The Last Hurrah: Ciphers Ascendant

The Last HurrahThe Last Hurrah’s protagonist Frank Skeffington (Spencer Tracy) is based on Boston’s James Michael Curley. We know this because of the many details drawn directly from Curley’s eventful life and career: Skeffington’s longstanding feuds with his city’s Cardinal and with the bluebloods, his personal dislike for FDR, his uxoriousness, his considerable charm and rhetorical skills, and the fact that he’s an old man running yet again for mayor in a predominantly Irish New England city. Skeffington’s final campaign forms the plot of Hurrah. Its events transpire in the mid-20th century, contemporaneously with the film itself (1958) and the book on which it was based (by Edwin O’Connor, published in 1956). Skeffington loses, to a young, upwardly-mobile Irish American put up by the local WASP establishment. Times have changed since Skeffington entered politics in the late 19th century. TV and radio have replaced flesh-pressing and spontaneous, street-corner oratory. The city is wealthier, and some of that wealth has reached the Irish, Skeffington’s traditional base. Their wealth has made them less resentful, rendering WASP-baiting demagoguery less effective than it used to be. Skeffington is aware of these changes, but he’s still convinced that one last victory is in his grasp. He believes that all it will take is a mix of charm, intimidation, patronage and loyalty, but events prove him wrong.

Skeffington’s is a personal machine. Bosses created machines, not vice versa. All urban machines depended on the leadership from a strong boss. We see this in the fact that we tend to refer to most of the important machines by the names of the boss who gave them life and influence (Pendergast, Hague, Crump). Tammany Hall, which did manage to last a long time and transcend the leadership of individual bosses, was the exception, not the rule.

And in that he controls the machine and not vice versa, Skeffington may be said to be his own man, the genuine article. He may be a bit of a grafter, but, in Hurrah, he’s not the candidate beholden to special interests. That would be McCluskey, Skeffington’s nebbish opponent. The film argues that, for all their faults, decline of Skeffington and his like heralded a more inauthentic form of politics. (The phrase used in Hurrah the novel is “a generation of ciphers.”) Politicians would thenceforth be packaged, handled and promoted like so many different brands of soap. The backlash against scriptedness and inauthenticity we see in the appeal of candidates such as Herman Cain and Ross Perot. These are not great men, but, in that authenticity is surely a condition of greatness, the decline of Skeffington’s ways portends the decline of greatness in city politics.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that Hurrah depicts the last stages of unity and reconciliation projected by Gangs. The subtitle of The Last Hurrah could be The Revenge of the WASP. Skeffington finds himself fighting against both the new Irish middle-class and old money Protestants. His moment seems to have been a blip, a brief transition phase in American urban history. By the film’s conclusion, history has come full circle and ethnic conflicts are resolved in a way that could never have happened while blueblood-baiters like Skeffington remained in power.

It’s somewhat difficult for the audience to appreciate how Skeffington could have lost to McCluskey. Based on what we are shown, the latter seems like a total boob. But we’re not the voters. To the increasingly affluent second and third generation Irish-Americans, Skeffington comes off as uncouth, just as he always did to the WASPs. They want a mayor that mirrors their conception of themselves: young, well-educated (in a conventional sense), nicely (not nattily) attired, and untainted by unsavory connections and loyalties.

In their classic study City Politics (1963), Edward Banfield and James Q. Wilson argued that this trend was general among ethnic voters in the American city at mid-century. Yes, Jews still preferred to vote for Jewish candidates, Irish for Irish candidates and so on, but:

[t]he candidates must not be too Polish, too Italian, or too Irish in the old style…[N]owadays, the nationality-minded voter prefers candidates who represent the ethnic group but at the same time display the attributes of the generally admired Anglo-Saxon model. The perfect candidate, then, is of Jewish, Polish, Italian, or Irish extraction and has the speech, dress, manner, and the public virtues-honesty, impartiality, and devotion to the public interest-of the upper-class Anglo-Saxon (p.43).

According to Hurrah, the Progressives were far less consequential in bringing down the bosses than two other factors. First, New Deal social welfare programs devalued the soft and hard currencies with which the machines purchased the immigrant vote (this thesis is advanced more explicitly in the book than the film). Second, the rising tide of prosperity produced the lace curtain Irish, who were wealthier, younger and less angry than their parents and grandparents who had composed Skeffington’s base. There are Progressives inHurrah, who provide important leadership and money, but this was a battle that they had been waging for decades. Why did they prove more successful at this moment? Because the Irish were ready to move on.


Gangs of new yorkGangs, McGinty and Hurrah set the standard not only because of their combination of historical accuracy and artistic merit, but because they are actually about politics. David Simon’s The Wire is probably the most highly-regarded recent treatment of city politics. But Simon doesn’t take politics seriously. The Wire holds that the real life of the city occurs in society, not government, and that politicians and their policies and institutions cause more problems than they solve.

Aside from the 2004 Gangs, most of the first-class filmmakers and writers in our own time tend to look past city politics. No one makes movies like these anymore. Perhaps the triumph of the Progressive vision of municipal reform made city politics less colorful. Hurrah portends a future of McCluskeys. But the problem cannot be purely for lack of material: there is nothing McCluskey-esque about Rudy Giuliani, Baltimore’s William Donald Schaefer, Philadelphia’s Ed Rendell and Providence’s Buddy Cianci. All made great copy, and yet they seem to have been largely overlooked by our more serious poets, filmmakers and novelists.

SEE ALSO: American Cities Can Now Be Divided Into 4 Different Categories, Depending On How They're Gentrifying

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The Star Of 'The Princess Bride' Has Some Crazy Stories About Working With Legend Andre The Giant


Cary Elwes acted alongside Andre the Giant in the 1987 film, The Princess Bride. In his new book, "As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride," Elwes recounts stories from the set of the film. He shares one of them here.

Produced by Alex Kuzoian. Video courtesy of Associated Press.

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The New James Bond Movie Script Leaks Online


skyfall bondThe new James Bond movie script has leaked online. 

Film producers confirmed an early version of the "Spectre" script leaked online in a message on the 007 website Saturday.

Here's the message in full:

EON PRODUCTIONS, the producers of the James Bond films, learned this morning that an early version of the screenplay for the new Bond film SPECTRE is amongst the material stolen and illegally made public by hackers who infiltrated the Sony Pictures Entertainment computer system.

Eon Productions is concerned that third parties who have received the stolen screenplay may seek to publish it or its contents. The screenplay for SPECTRE is the confidential information of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Danjaq, LLC, and is protected by the laws of copyright in the United Kingdom and around the world. It may not (in whole or in part) be published, reproduced, disseminated or otherwise utilised by anyone who obtains a copy of it. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Danjaq LLC will take all necessary steps to protect their rights against the persons who stole the screenplay, and against anyone who makes infringing uses of it or attempts to take commercial advantage of confidential property it knows to be stolen.

The Bond script is among the latest leak in a giant cyberattack on Sony by a hacker group known as the Guardians of Peace (GoP). The attack has resulted in the email accounts of numerous Sony executives to leak online

Gawker has obtained a copy of the alleged script, detailing plot points from the early version of the film.

In addition, Gawker reports Sony execs went back and forth over revisions to the "Spectre" script, according to leaked emails from the mailbox of Sony Pictures cochairman Amy Pascal.

From the emails, reviewed by Business Insider, concerns about the movie were taking place through mid-October with Pascal calling elements of the film "a bit convenient and maybe a little confusing."

There was a call to link the new movie with the "events from the last three movies," of which Pascal said "we haven't completely nailed it yet."

In addition, she suggested the end of the script needed revisions writing, "the last twenty pages however are really what needs fixing."

Another version of the script was expected before Thanksgiving, according to subsequent emails.

CNNMoney reported other leaked emails expressed concerns with the movie's budget.

The film reportedly costs over $300 million, making it among the most expensive movies ever made.

"Spectre" began filming Dec. 8. and is set for release Nov. 6, 2015.

SEE ALSO: The new Bond movie reportedly costs over $300 million and is way over budget

AND: Sony has reportedly suspended production on movies amid hack

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Sony Is Apparently Working On A 'Django Unchained'/'Zorro' Crossover Movie With Quentin Tarantino


django zorro movie

The "Men in Black"/"22 Jump Street" movie isn't the only crossover film Sony has in the works.

Sony Pictures is also working on plans to develop a "Django Unchained" / "Zorro" crossover, according to several email exchanges between director Quentin Tarantino and Sony Pictures cochair Amy Pascal that have leaked online amid the massive Sony hack.

In an email dated Sept. 28, Pascal tells Tarantino she wants to discuss a potential "Django/Zorro" film. She also tells him she wants to work on a movie called "The Dion Brothers" while making reference to the director's next project, "The Hateful Eight," with Harvey Weinstein.

From the email, which is written in all caps:


Tarantino responds saying "D/Z could be really fun!" He also expresses interest in "The Dion Brothers" and another movie in Sony's catalogue "The Baby Blue Marine."

The "Django/Zorro" crossover isn't out of the blue. 

A comic series of the same name written by Tarantino was released in Nov. by Dynamite Entertainment and DC ComicsThe series is a sequel to the 2012 Oscar-winning movie starring Jamie Foxx.

django zorro

Here's the comic synopsis, according to Dynamite Entertainment:

Set several years after the events of Django Unchained, Django/Zorro #1 finds Django again pursuing the evil that men do in his role as a bounty hunter. Since there's a warrant on his head back east, he's mainly been plying his trade in the western states. After safely settling his wife, Broomhilda, near Chicago, he's again taken to the road, sending her funds whenever he completes a job. It's by sheer chance that he encounters the aged and sophisticated Diego de la Vega - the famed Zorro - and soon finds himself fascinated by this unusual character, the first wealthy white man he's ever met who seems totally unconcerned with the color of Django's skin... and who can hold his own in a fight. He hires on as Diego's "bodyguard" for one adventure and is soon drawn into a fight to free the local indigenous people from a brutal servitude, discovering that slavery isn't exclusive to black folks. In the course of this adventure, he learns much from the older man (much like King Schultz) and, on several occasions, even dons the mask and the whip... of The Fox!

In a later email exchange, dated Nov. 3., Pascal tells Tarantino she finally checked out the comic series and describes it as "super cool."

In separate emails listing the plans for Sony's future movie schedule, the crossover, listed simply as "Django/Zorro" in emails, is dated for some time in 2017.

SEE ALSO: A timeline of the Sony hacking scandal

AND: The new James Bond movie script leaks online

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Fox Is Reportedly Working On A Giant 'X-Men' And 'Fantastic Four' Team-Up Movie


Xmen magneto prisonerAn X-Men/Fantastic Four crossover movie seems inevitable, right? After all, crossover comic book movies are by far the biggest thing in Hollywood right now, and even producer Simon Kinberg has said in the past that there is a motivation to "be like Marvel." While this may seem like an obvious future, however, the folks at 20th Century Fox have remained coy about the idea, never actually confirming that a meeting of their two biggest superhero franchises is in the works. So leave it to the Sony Pictures hack to shed some light on what's really going on behind the scenes. 

In their most recent report about information disseminating from the studio leak, The Daily Beast has revealed very strong evidence that an X-Men/Fantastic Four crossover is in the works - courtesy of an email written by Michael De Luca, co-president of production for Columbia Pictures, to Sony Pictures Entertainment Co-Chairman Amy Pascal this past October. In the conversation, De Luca writes that he has learned directly from Simon Kinberg that Fox is working on an X-Men and Fantastic Four team-up movie, and suggests that Sony plan something similar with their Spider-Man property - namely linking together a new Spider-Man movie, the female-led Spider-Man movie, Venom, and Sinister Six for a "eventual mega movie." (My only question is, was this not the plan that was drawn up around this time last year?) 

This past May, Simon Kinberg went on the record saying that the X-Men and the characters in Josh Trank's upcoming Fantastic Four reboot "live in discrete universes," and while that was initially seen as being a real barrier between the franchises, the truth is that it's a wall that's pretty easy to get past. The Fantastic Four synopsis that was revealed earlier this month said the members of the titular team get their powers in the same way as the Ultimate Fantastic Four did in the comics: by teleporting through an alternate dimension. With this technology put into play, it's not incredibly hard to see how the two superhero teams might wind up in the same world together - even if they are apart right now. 

fanstastic 4 reboot cast Michael B. Jordan Miles Teller Kate Mara Jamie Bell
The most logical explanation for why Fox hasn't announced a full future slate of comic book movies a la Marvel Studios is because they're not 100% sure that they are going to greenlight the idea just yet. After all, the X-Men franchise is more popular than ever right now, but the public is wary of what to expect from Josh Trank's Fantastic Four. Other than the pressures of a potentially saturated comic book movie market, there really is no reason right now for the studio to jump the gun. Unless there is an overwhelmingly positive response to the first Fantastic Four trailer (whenever that comes), it's possible that we won't get any kind of official announcement of a future X-Men/Fantastic Four film until next August.

SEE ALSO: After Sony's "Community" was canceled, Joel McHale asked for a discount on a Sony TV

AND: Sony's working on a "Men in Black"/"22 Jump Street" crossover

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Universal Studios Will Have Record Profits This Year Without A Hit Blockbuster



While we’re all covering Marvel vs DC like a novelty boxing match, and some are ogling Sony’s dirty laundry, Universal Pictures quietly did the most interesting thing possible this year.

The studio that brought us Lucy and Neighbors is on track to make record profits without releasing a single traditional blockbuster. As Scott Mendelson at Forbes points out, none of their films cost more than $70m to make, and only two (of 15) cost more than $40m. There was no spandex, the franchise entries were low budget horror (and the return of both dumb and his friend dumber), and there were no minions.

Yet, as if by magic, Universal netted more money than they ever have before.

They’re assured to be out of the Top Three when it comes to gross this year, but if they get sad about that they have the ability to buy a lot of Kleenex. Even so, there’s one reason to consider them superior to other studios and one reason to shrug at their profits.

The first, positive reason is sustainability. Believe it or not, superhero movies will fall out of favor, and studios will run out of popular franchises to cannibalize one day. Marvel may lay an expensive egg in a few years. The world may grow tired of “geek culture” being paraded past. Keeping costs down and looking to proven genre films (regardless of name-recognition) will most likely provide smoother sailing even as other studios fulfill Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster implosion prophesy.

The second, negative reason is that Universal’s movies are exactly tingle-inducing. They managed to bank nearly half a billion by making a female superhero movie with Scarlett Johansson, and Ride Along and Neighbors were R-rated breaths of comedic fresh air, but otherwise the line up isn’t exactly innovative. They’ve made a record amount of profits by doing just good enough. Liam Neeson aiming more guns (Non-Stop), another day of lawlessness (Purge 2), another take on the most famous vampire (Dracula Untold), and so on and so on and so on. They are low-cost, reheated concepts that probably won’t be remembered come 2016.

Let’s go back to Mendelson for the money quote:

“None of Universal’s stable of would-be franchises (BourneFast & Furious, etc.) made an appearance this year. Their highest-grossing film earned under $500 million worldwide. But nonetheless Universal made more profit than it did in 2013, when Fast & Furious 6 and Despicable Me 2 flirted with $1 billion worldwide.

Because alongside a lack of Fast & Furious type smashes were a lack of 47 Ronin or R.I.P.D. type bombs. There are two lessons worth taking from this. First of all, you can make massive profits from a solid and stable and diverse slate of moderately budgeted movies. Second of all, if you’re aiming for the fences, you’re going to strike out pretty hard too, to the point where the big flops may-well cancel out the big hits. I’m sure Universal will see massive grosses next year, with the likes of Furious 7Pitch Perfect 2, Jurassic WorldTed 2, and Minions. What will be interesting is whether or not they see massive profits as well.”

So, the bottom line is that in an age where the common wisdom is to go as big as possible in order to go home at the top of the box office, Universal is sticking to an older model of filmmaking and doing better than ever. Hopefully this victory makes them feel comfortable enough to spend a little on riskier, more energetic ideas in the future.

SEE ALSO: Sony is apparently working on a "Django Unchained"/"Zorro" crossover movie

AND: The script for the new Bond movie leaks online

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